Violence, abuse and exploitation of children are unfortunately not new. Forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children have come to be recognised as crimes against children. The devastating consequences that violence has on children’s development and on societies as a whole are slowly coming to light.
What we’re doing
In the Child Abuse Programme, we envision a world in which all children are protected from sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. We support initiatives to:
1) eliminate the sexual exploitation of children;
2) engage men and boys in combating the sexual abuse of children; and
3) promote systemic approaches to prevent violence against children.
We put the child at the centre of all our work. The following principles, which are interrelated and mutually reinforcing, are statements that apply to and guide our work:
- Child rights based — All interventions should reflect the fact that children have rights and that states and civil society, including families, have obligations to respect and facilitate their realisation. These rights are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Children’s agency and competency to participate actively in realising these rights is recognised but varies with age and stage of development.
- Child participation — We are committed to the meaningful involvement of children in all decisions that affect their lives. This includes promoting greater respect for children and their inclusion in decision-making within their families and communities. Children’s capacities to participate and contribute need to be strengthened, and environments that encourage and support children in applying those capacities, created. The nature of children’s participation will vary, reflecting their evolving capacity.
- Non-discrimination — All the work we support must be implemented in a way that does not discriminate on the basis of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion or other status of the child or his/her parents or guardians. Any affirmative action targeting a specific group should be designed to promote equality and inclusion.
- Best interests of the child — We recognise that in all decisions impacting children, their best interests should be a primary consideration. This applies at two levels. First, decisions and actions affecting an individual child should reflect his or her unique circumstances, second, all actions and decisions — whether legislative, administrative or programmatic — that impact all children or a specific group of children, must consider their collective interests.
- Respecting and building on strengths — We recognise that children, families and communities have strengths and capacities that should inform and orient interventions. An understanding of their social context and positive traditional practices may provide effective, sustainable options and opportunities for protecting children.
- Do no harm — Our work and the work we support may have unintended and unexpected results. These can be positive or negative. Monitoring and evaluation should be designed to identify both, and support the revision or reorientation of interventions if indicated